Analysis: Global pressure likely to continue to weigh on TA-25

World markets have been hammered of late, and the TA-25 hasn't proved immune to the sell-off.

biz graph may 23 298 88 (photo credit: )
biz graph may 23 298 88
(photo credit: )
World markets have been hammered of late, and the TA-25 hasn't proved immune to the sell-off. Since the index's intra-day record high of 903 on May 11, the index has retraced back to an 858 close on Monday, leaving a finish above the psychologically important 900 level - which just weeks ago seemed to be a given - an elusive target. It's been just five months since the country's benchmark index crossed the 800 marker. Eight days ago - on May 15 - the TA-25 fell sharply, hitting an intra-day low of 874, before rebounding to close at 884. This recovery was significant, because it was a case of "filling the gap" (an important concept in technical analysis) that was created seven sessions earlier. On May 4, the index had closed at 875, then reopened after the weekend on May 7 at 888 - meaning that there was a 13 point "gap," where the TA-25 jumped from one level to the other without ever trading in between. There is an adage in charting that "every gap has to be filled," and - while this does not occur 100% of the time - when the gap is filled, all eyes are on the next move. In the case of the TA-25, the next move looked positive - The move on May 15 "filled the gap" and the index closed well above the intra-day lows, followed by an early rally the next day - all indicating that the prior uptrend was set to continue. Since then, however, the general malaise in world indices has dented the optimism surrounding the Israeli market and the latest move - four straight days of decline - has eroded the buoyant mood of last week. As such, the short-term appears bleak for the TA-25 as it would appear set to pull back as low as 845, where the first real support level appears if the market cannot hold above 875. From a fundamental standpoint, however, the outlook is not as clear cut as the current level of the index appears to have left analysts indecisive over its next move. While Israel's economy appears to have made a solid start to the year, the global sell-off of stocks has made previously bullish strategists somewhat more cautious. "The near term uncertainty justifies taking a waiting stance and staying on the fence," said Yaron Friedman of Bank Hapoalim, in a note to clients. Nevertheless, he expects the TA-25 to weather the storm better than the more major indices - "even in the case of sharp declines in those markets, the negative movements in Tel Aviv will be more moderate," he wrote. Bank Leumi analysts, meanwhile said they expected the TA-25 "to trade in line with world markets, in the short term." These two views indicate that analysts and fund managers are unlikely to step back into the market until the bigger picture becomes clearer. If world indices continue to decline, it would appear that the TA-25 will drift lower, putting that 900 close a little further out of reach.